Iain Lundy

Iain Lundy

The Scottish Lord with the elixir of life

SIR SIMON Loccard of the Lee had an impressive family history even before he distinguished himself as one of Robert the Bruce's most loyal followers. His grandfather, Stephen Loccard, had the town of Stevenson in Ayrshire named after him and his father, also Simon, gave his name to the village of Symington.

St Mungo and his mysterious deeds

WHEN Languoreth, a sixth century Queen of Strathclyde, embarked on an affair with a young soldier, she could have had no idea that her actions would live on in Scottish folklore hundreds of years later.

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Isolated grave for "Treasure Island" author

WHEN Robert Louis Stevenson collapsed and died whilst opening a bottle of wine in the early morning of 3 December 1894, the Samoan islanders whose cause he had championed insisted on standing guard outside his home until daybreak.

Scots educator who gave students a voice

OLIVER Goldsmith's perceptive description of the village schoolmaster in his epic poem The Deserted Village sums up perfectly the traditional view of a good old-fashioned British education. Teachers were strict and imposed discipline along with the three Rs. Unless told to speak, children were expected to be seen and not heard.

Luxury Aberdeen-area resort – a century ago

DONALD Trump has made his mind up then. The windswept, 800-acre site at Balmedie in Aberdeenshire is to become the "greatest golf course in the world". It will boast a 500-bedroom hotel to rival that at Turnberry in Ayrshire and will one day host the Open Championship.

Selkirk's six-month silver lining

LITTLE did the good people of Selkirk realise, when an Edinburgh archer named Charles Nairn competed for, and won, the town's most ancient and prestigious sporting prize - the Silver Arrow - that it would be nearly two centuries before the historical artefact was returned.

Texas hero owes it all to poem by Burns

HE WAS one of the greatest military and political heroes in United States history, the founding father of modern-day Texas after whom the fourth largest city in America is named.

McBlare to make Scottish bow

THE ROBOTIC piper designed by academics at a US university is to make its Scottish performing debut - with a little help from scotsman.com.

Scott's influence on an American icon

HE WAS arguably America's greatest short-story teller, satirist and wit. The son of an Orkney sailor who settled in the New World, he went on to become the first American writer to achieve international fame and that country’s first true "literary artist".

Wizard laird's dance with the devil

LOCH of Skene is a dark and forbidding place at the best of times, particularly so on cold evenings in the dead of winter - the type of weather there in Aberdeenshire that makes the waters freeze over. On such occasions those who dare venture to the lochside can gaze out at what seem like a mysterious set of curved tracks embedded in the ice. Tracks which look newly made by a coach or carriage.

Proud regiment stands steadfast to the end

WHEN the controversial plan to amalgamate Scotland's infantry regiments into one "super-regiment" was announced, the Black Watch was on duty in southern Iraq. Opponents to the decision shook their heads in dismay. It seemed a particularly insensitive way to handle what was already a highly emotional move.

Not a bad piper … for a robot

IT IS enough to make traditional Scottish bagpipe aficionados choke on their chanters and mutter darkly that "it could only happen in America".

Scotland's Nostradamus and the Queen of the Fairies

SO BEGINS the ballad of the quaint 13th-century figure known as Scotland's Nostradamus and his enchantment by the Queen of the Fairies.

Lockerbie and the worst Christmas imaginable

IT WAS 7pm on 21 December 1988, a wet and miserable winter evening. In the small Dumfriesshire market town of Lockerbie local people were looking forward to Christmas, some wrapping presents and others preparing their dinner. Fourteen-year-old Steven Flannigan had just braved the weather to go to a neighbour's house to set up his present of a new bicycle for his younger sister Joanne.

The passengers "precipitated into Eternity" when their steamship sank

THE NAME of Henry James Bell has its own special place in the annals of nautical history. The engineer, born in Torphichen, West Lothian, designed the world's first practical steamship, the Comet, and had it built in a shipyard in Port Glasgow. It was launched in 1812 and is one of Scotland's much-lauded inventions. Bell was a pioneer in his field in the early days of steamship transportation which were fraught with danger.

Blantyre and the blackness of darkness

THE LYRICS of the lament are agonisingly accurate. When the horror and the enormity of Scotland's worst mining disaster began to sink in to the relatives of those left behind in the dingy little town known as "Dirty Auld Blantyre", their cries of sorrow could be heard for many a mile. The hills around Blantyre truly echoed with their mourning.

Passion for life and death … and Mick Jagger too

IT WAS the era of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. The Swinging Sixties were just that, a time when the Captain Mainwarings of regimented post-war Britain were swept away in an orgy of student demonstrations and Ban the Bomb marches. The country's rebellious youth got high on marijuana or LSD, women took the contraceptive pill and all indulged in "free love" - to the horror of their elders.

The Tobermory wreck that promises sunken treasure

IT IS a well-oiled journalistic mantra - never let the facts get in the way of a good story. But there are some stories that contain so much information, most of it conflicting, that the process of separating fact from fiction becomes an almost impossible task. All of which brings us neatly to the town of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull - more specifically, to its bay.

Seven severed heads in a bloody clan war

DRIVE along the shores of Loch Oich - one of three lochs forming Scotland's Caledonian Canal - and you will find yourself amid some of the most spectacular Highland scenery imaginable. The view across the loch from the store in the village of Invergarry is breathtaking.

Is the Curse of Scotland in the cards?

IT SOUNDS like one of these pieces of useless information that crop up in Scottish trivia quizzes. Which of the 52 cards in a standard set of playing cards is referred to as "The Curse of Scotland"?

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